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Faculty Sponsor

Professor Mark Henkels

Abstract

Martin Luther King, Jr. is celebrated in mainstream American culture as a champion of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. He is also lauded in the halls of academia for his growing political radicalism prior to his assassination in 1968. Neither view of the man, however, generally acknowledges his deep-rooted political philosophy of Natural Law. This aspect of King, which informed his civic protest, speeches, and political ideology, has been given short shrift in recent decades. While popular culture credits his integrity and intellectuals admire his advocacy for significant reforms in domestic and foreign policy, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s principle tenet has been largely removed from public memory. This should be corrected, as King's arguments for civil rights, including the right to protest and equal protection under the law, were steeped in Natural Law philosophy.

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